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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

What's the Point of LinkedIn?

I've been a member of linkedin for quite awhile, often get invitations to "connect" with various people and "networks" - but what's it for?

What's the point of the thing?

I don't really use Facebook much but at least you have friends posting photos and letting the world know what they're up to. For me it's greatest use is getting in touch with other off-road motorcyclists here in Borneo, arranging rides and showing off pics after.

What does one actually DO with linkedin?

They keep posting "jobs you might be interested in". Which part of 'self employed' was difficult?

I often get other copywriters wanting to 'connect' with me. For what? Why would I want to connect with competitors and wannabe competitors? Mutual backslapping or something? "Hey, you're a copywriter, me too!" *slap*


There seems to be some kind of feed thing.. if I scroll far enough there's the occasional link to some article or blog post.

Is that it?

Am I missing something or is it a waste of time? How does one get the most out of this linkedin thing?

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
Phew, I'm glad it isn't just me that thinks like that.
Scorpio Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
LinkedIn is invaluable tool for me. We are a B2B company. While many of our clients are "vanilla" retail, we have many clients in fairly niche verticals and/or with fairly byzantine org charts.

With LinkedIn, we are able to look-up our contact to figure out their role in the company, their experience, their probable IT skills (or probable lack of IT skills).

When this information is available, we can have much more educated discussion with our clients and prospects, going directly to the right level of technicalities.
To paraphrase the old saying.

If you don't understand the product, then you are the product.

The point of linked in is for millions of people to reveal who they work for, their qualifications and how they are relate so that LinkedIn Corp. has a unique offering to recruitment consultants and other companies interested in selling stuff to "business people"

Recruitment consultants pay to access your data, pay for job listings and companies pay for "targeted" advertising.

And that is the point!
TomTomAgain Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
I find it useful.  If I interview with someone, I can look them up on LinkedIn and find out something about them - maybe we used to work at the same place, or went to the same school, etc.

Last night I talked to a recruiter about a gig, and she gave me the name of the hiring manager.  I looked him up, and he was connected to a former buddy of mine.  I mailed the buddy, and he responded with some insider info that I would not have had otherwise, which might impact my decision to consider working for this guy.

I like being able to keep up with where former colleagues and acquaintances are working now - it doesn't always have a lot of immediate practical impact, but I find it helpful.
Jason Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
I think TomTomAgain has nailed it.  The churn in the "recruitment" business is almost as bad as the tele-marketing business.  I haven't quite figured it out, but there's something wrong when technology allows for linking or connecting people in such a shallow way that those links are completely useless.  If you are using LinkedIn to either find prospects or evaluate job applicants, you are wasting time that could be better spent on the telephone or face to face.  You can learn more from the part-time receptionist than you can from a LinkedIn profile.
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
I watched a video once where the founder explained his philosophy behind LinkedIn. I am paraphrasing but it was basically to facilitate trust between otherwise strangers - in the simplest possible way.
codingreal Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
You know what they say about new things, it depends on your age when it came along:

20's: x has always existed and is just part of the natural order of things, like TV when we were kids.

30's: x is this insanely awesome new thing that is going to solve all our problems, like the Internet was when we were 30.

40's+: x  is this strange new beast that I don't really like, don't trust, don't see the point of, and in my heart believe will probably lead to the downfall of civilization, like Facebook is now.

x = Facebook, LinkedIn, gay marriage, women voting, etc.
GregT Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
As Johaness rightly points out, it's an invaluable tool for gathering information about competitors, enemies, and people who you are just curious about. Amazingly many people will post huge amounts of personal and career information there, and pay for the privilege of doing so.
Scott Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
I was always under the impression that LinkedIn is to connect to others in your field of work so that you can find work when unemployed.  In other words, kind of like a Facebook for the unemployed.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, June 14, 2013
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Maybe use it to locate an appropriate employee of a competitor of one of your current customers then send them a request to connect. If you are lucky they will check out your profile. You might reference your customer in the request or state that you have customers in their industry sector. 

I have not  tried this myself,  but have considered it.

When I get such requests from someone that is in a relevant business I view their profile then decide if I want to connect.
Bill Anonomist Send private email
Saturday, June 15, 2013
"people will post huge amounts of personal and career information"
I was going to say five nines of that information is fiction, but it doesn't have to be.  As long as the degree of falseness is high enough to make you suspect everyone listed, it's useless.  Do you pick the best liar and contact them for an interview?  Do you pick the worst online candidate because they are more likely to be honest, even though if they are honest, they aren't qualified?

"gathering information about competitors, enemies"
Not if you want actionable information.  The only thing worse than hiring a liar is making strategic business decisions based on your competitor's lies.  If you just want to amplify your existing opinions of people you don't like, it probably does the trick, and it's less embarrassing than strictly making stuff up in your head.

"40's+: x  is this strange new beast that I don't really like"
Same old beast, but with more experience.  When I was in my early twenties, the hot thing was Teletext services like France's Minitel, Canada's Telidon, Britain's Ceefax, etc.  Been there, done that.
Howard Ness Send private email
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Howard you're right that the professional IT labor market is a market for lemons where a subset are compulsively lying/selling lemons, and it is hard for those who aren't professionals themselves to tell which are good and which are bad, so all the prices end up being depressed, including those for high quality goods since lay customers can't tell the difference and won't risk it.

It's been this way for some time though, irrespective of LinkedIn.

For those with sufficient tech skills to tell the difference between the idiots and the fakes, it's possible to find acceptable talent in this market and pay them a wage so they'll not want to leave. But there are few people with sufficient tech skills in management industry wide since the incompetent are just promoted into management when discovered.

Electronic goods going through a similar phase. So much consumer stuff is abysmal. People buy Apple not because it's great but because they know it will do the basic use cases smoothly without having to fart around with it too much.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, June 15, 2013
For most people connecting to a lot of people via LinkedIn is akin to leveling up in a video game. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when, in fact, you haven't done jack **** in real life.

that said, even though it's easy to find things to criticize about LinkedIn, I have to think there are people who do use it to network to their advantage.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
The way I see it...

LinkedIn is the premier live database of millions of professional resumes.  According to comments above, it is mainly funded by recruiters (the recruiter specific accounts that open up profiles that otherwise you have to be connected to directly are ungodly expensive.)

I really, really like the idea of obtaining useful value from something that scum sucking recruiters are paying through the nose to finance.

LinkedIn is an awesome free B2B database. Names, job titles, companies.

LI is a way to share pro forma, shallow social affiliations with other professionals and friends you know.

The groups are a waste. I see their value mainly as a way to show pro forma interest affiliations. If you join a "Dubuque IT Champions" group on LinkedIn, you obtain that badge on your account profile, and then RAH RAH RAH you support the Dubuque IT industry. If that matters. For some sales professionals it may.
WannabeTycoon Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Well I've left my a/c and profile but with a note to basically leave me the heck alone...

Aint no-one got time for all that.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Monday, June 17, 2013
linkedin is for business whereas facebook is for your social life.

One gives you the ability to be much more relaxed and yourself while the other presents your professional side. For example you would never consider posting pictures on linkedin of your weekend camping.

Yes there is going to be some overlap, but if you look at most people's connections in linkedin they are professional connections. And if you look at most people's friends in facebook, they are social friends. Even just the terminology used to describe the associations (connections versus friends) says a lot about the intention of the two systems ;)
Stephane Grenier Send private email
Friday, June 28, 2013

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